After his win against Team Dignitas, Bjergsen reflected on his time with TL and what went wrong, as well as why being on 100 Thieves has given him hope that 2023 will be a better year in an interview with Dexerto.
Team Liquid’s 2023 roster moves felt like an attempt to push their 2022 failures under the rug. They spent big on some of the best talent available to them, only to miss Worlds. Going 0-3 the Spring Playoffs against EG was their greatest feat for the year. Not exactly a high bar.
In comparison to most teams, making it consistently to top 4 in the region isn’t too bad. But with how much hype and money was behind TL, it was hard to see anything but first place as a failure.
Bjergsen wasn’t eager to blame any one player on Team Liquid for what happened in 2022 in his interview with Dexerto, but he did reveal what wasn’t working within the team and seemed convinced that things are going to be different with 100 Thieves.
Bjergsen reveals issues with 2022 Team Liquid’s “team dynamic”
The selling point for Team Liquid’s roster in 2022 was that they were almost too big to fail. They spent millions on getting a team that was worthy of that “super team” moniker, one that’s proven to be a curse for any org that gets their hands on a roster with that much proven talent.
From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see why they failed with so many big-name players. From Bjergsen’s perspective, that may have been a big part of the problem.
“I think a lot of the team dynamics we had on TL were not super healthy. A lot of it was just because we had 5 fairly accomplished veteran players that all liked to do certain things in a certain way. I think that when you have a balance like our team does, it’s a little bit easier for the leaders to set the culture, because the rookies are— of course they still have their preferences, but they’re more open-minded when it comes to a lot of different things.
Everyday things: How we practice, how we do things as a team, our culture, how we warm up for matches, how we approach practice. I think it makes it a little easier to get on the same page. Not that Milan (Tenacity) and Busio don’t have opinions, but… Yeah, I think that, in my team last year, there was a big lack of flexibility and how people saw things both in and out of game.”
This lack of flexibility and a proper leader in game and out can make it incredibly difficult to put together a cohesive team. 100 Thieves has allowed Bjergsen to take on more of a leadership role and has set the stage for him to create a more stable and balanced team environment.
But he didn’t blame everything on the way TL functioned. When asking him about his biggest takeaway from his time on Team Liquid, he pondered his answer for several seconds.
Ultimately, he came up with this:
“My biggest regret, which was maybe the thing I learned because it’s the thing I’m trying to change, is my mentality and my mindset toward solo queue and how I’m using solo queue as a practice tool. Cause obviously everyone plays 6 scrims a day, but I think what makes a player great is how they use their time outside of that. How they utilize solo queue practice, how they study and theorycraft the game, even how they rest and reset. I think I was doing a lot of those things well, but I think my mentality toward the solo queue games was not good.”
Bjergsen spoke on his mounting frustration with solo queue, especially toward the end of the Summer 2022. Outside of issues within Team Liquid, Bjergsen’s mental during practice wasn’t the best. That resulted in an on-stage showing that was below both fan expectations and expectations he had for himself.
“I just got caught up in the wreck that can sometimes be solo queue— I’m not even gonna say in NA because it’s everywhere. It’s really about the approach that you bring to it. I think that meant, toward the end of the year, I wasn’t as proficient mechanically on certain champions and that showed on stage. I think that just came back to how I wasn’t using my solo queue practice to be ready to perform well with these champions on stage.”
Ultimately, Bjergsen is trying not to focus on what went wrong last year. Being stuck on past failures after several years worth of success isn’t something he’s keen on doing.
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“I mean, I still want to do well. I’m not here to f*** around. I was on a team that was supposed to be really great, and we didn’t do well. Obviously, people are never going to know why. Whether it’s me, whether it’s other players, whether it’s coaches, management, whatever. The reality is that I was on a team that was supposed to be great and I didn’t do well. So, I need to prove that I wasn’t the problem and show why I’m so great.”
His path to success with 100 Thieves hasn’t exactly been smooth so far, but he’s confident that things are going in the right direction. Especially now that he’s back with Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng.
Bjergsen celebrates being reunited with Doublelift on 100 Thieves
Many times throughout the interview, Bjergsen referred to team “culture”, and re-iterated how important a component it is to developing a roster that actually works. He spoke in the previous section about “setting the culture” with 100 Thieves’ rookies when comparing his experience on 100T to what things were like on TL, and he feels like Doublelift has been a huge help to building a productive team environment.
“When you play the game for as long as me and Peter do, you just build a lot of habits in the game. Especially early in the season when we haven’t really ironed things out, there’s going to be bad habits. And I know Doublelift’s bad habits very well. But it’s just very comfortable. The thing that I’m realizing is just, from the beginning of the season on day 1, it feels like I have someone that’s on my side.
I know kind of how he sees things and how I see things, and it’s a lot easier for me to implement things in the culture in the environment and how we— especially just how honest we can be with each other and our ability to call each other out if someone is tilting in a scrim or if someone is coming into scrims unprepared.
It’s a lot easier for me to be brutally honest with them when Doublelift is there because he’s going to back me up. Whereas, in other environments, if I’m very direct and honest with people, there’s no one to support me in the moment because they’re very uncomfortable with that level of bluntness. Then I kind of start feeling like an outsider because I’m the only one who’s being direct and blunt within the team.
I feel very comfortable doing it when he’s there, and I feel very comfortable doing it with him, and he’s very comfortable doing that with me, which I think just sets the culture. Even I am calling Doublelift on his bulls***, he’s calling me out on my bulls***.
We don’t stay upset with each other. We might argue and even raise our voices sometimes but, after that review is over, we’re back to being friends.
That’s a culture that I find very important, and it’s just a lot easier when— It’s not even something we talk about, it’s just we have a common belief. We’ve worked with each other for so long that we just know this is the best way for a team to be successful in our opinion, and it just naturally comes about. It’s a lot easier for me to be that way when I know I’m with other people that have that same view.”
It’s too early in the season to say whether or not 100 Thieves’ gamble will pay off. Bjergsen compared their loss to C9 to a “wake-up call”, saying it was a good reminder that the team has a lot of work to do.
But he’s “happy with the progress” so far, and hopeful that 100 Thieves can be an org he builds his new legacy with while leaving 2022 behind.